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                  Inter-Office Memorandum

        To         Spline Aficionados               Date           November 20, 1973

        From       Ad rienne Payne                  Location       Palo Alto

        Subject    Spline Function Representation   Organization   PARC/CSt
                   of Chinese Characters


    Attached is a working draft of a paper by Bob Flegal; Bob .told me to tell
    you all that held be around to talk to you individually about the paper.
    Or, you can stop by the Graphics Lab and chat,with him.

    Patrick Baudelaire
    Danny Bobrow
    Alan Kay
    But 1er Lampson
    Dick Shoup
    Bob Sproull
    Bob Taylor
    Adele Goldberg
    Diana Jones (archive files)
    Dan Swi nehart
    David Liddle

                            Working Draft / August 15, 1973

                                          Robert Flegal


     In using computers to represent                and     manipulate          Chinese characters,
much effort to date has quite properly been devoted to the primary problems
of compactness of coding, storage and retrieval, and character- recognition
[References I through 5].             Aesthetic problems in matters of typography and
call igraphy       have necessari ly          played a lesser role.             Yet looking ahead to
the time when the aesthetic quality of computer generated                             output     may    be
allowed     to assume a         greater        significance,       it     is clear that much work
remains to be done.        Our purpose in this paper is to call attention to                           the
possibilities        inherent    in     the     use of      spline       functions         to   represent
arbitrary      graphical    figures       In     general,    and Chinese              characters        in
particular.        Although t'he techniques have quite wide appl icabtl ity, we have
chosen     to illustrate their use in the treatment of hand-written characters
input to a small computer system in real time.

     Cubic spline functions have properties                   that      make        them    particularly
suitable     for     approximating       hand-drawn       curves        for     which relatively few
sample points are available.             Most importantly they                are    the mathematical
analog of       splines used by draftsmen.            A mechanical spline is a thin strip
Robert Flegal I Working Draft I August 15, 1973 I Page 2

of plastic or metal that can be constrained to a particular shape wi,th lead
weights (called "dogs") that hold the strip In place.

       As a consequence of behaving like mechanical      splines,     cubic    spline
functions   are   smooth, and furthermore, a change In the position of one of
the dogs does not    radically change   the   shape of     the   whole curve       --
properties not shared, for example, by interpolatory polynomials.

Outline of the method

       Characters are written on a digitizing tablet which is interfaced to a
small computer system.* [Footnote:   The sy

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